Bootstrap Million Dollar Companies with Connor Gillivan

Freeup was sold since this episode was recorded! Connor is onto his next adventure!

Connor Gillivan started his first business when in college in E-commerce and has been an entrepreneur ever since, now he is the co-founder of an outsourcing business called Freeup that provides remote workers who are vetted and they can help you you scale your business. He is also the author of 50 ways to bootstrap million dollar companies.

Connor Gillivan- Author of 50 Ways to Bootstrap Million Dollar Companies

I asked Connor these questions:

How do people stay focused in the early stages of a startup?

The first 6 months is key to focus, make sure you have a good plan of where you are headed and what you want to achieve, having a short term vision is key. He has a 1 year plan himself and he breaks it down into quarters.

On a daily and weekly basis he breaks this down into different projects and keeps him focused on the end goal for the end of the year.

What are your top ways to get traffic?

The biggest is actually talking with other podcast hosts and share information with their audiences has been huge. Word of mouth and their referral program has been huge and giving their top customers the best experience possible is key and they have to be happy. The referral program incentivizes them to share their experience with others, this brings in a lot of traffic every day and every month.

These keep the costs down VS paid traffic, there is a time that is right for paid traffic but for someone who is bootstrapping probably not the best move.

Do you think social media is a time suck or another way to get traffic?

It can become a time suck if you don’t have the right strategies, but he has seen it to be a great way to bring traffic to his website and for email signups etc.

Getting involved in different Facebook groups has worked really well for his niche and sharing relevant content is a great way to bring people to your site.

We discussed how overwhelmed people are in their jobs these days.

It all depends on your business and what actually works, putting consistent content out there that adds value to them is important.

We both shared some great tips with repurposing content here and explained that if you try to be on every platform you won’t get the results.

What is the one crucial thing start-up founders should do?

Biggest things that Connor has found divvying up responsibilities and roles is crucial to avoid you stepping on toes and inefficiency.

Figuring out these individually is a great way to set you on the same path.

Do you think it is important to create a clearly defined target market or can you adjust as you go?

Having multiple defined markets when getting started is key, when started Freeup they knew the three products they had. They chose different niches, four or five to start and tried to reachout and create customers from them, they learned a lot about who the most loyal customers were and work out who the best fit is for the services.
Starting completely broad leads to the most inefficiency and focusing on the niches is key.

What did the most success in your business come from?

Freeup is split into two things, the referral program has been a source of rapid growth, giving their customers an incentive to share with friends. Affiliate or referral programs are a great way to grow and create a reward for people to promote you is a great way to create success.

The reason why is crucial and using freelancers to build your company is key, a common trait is to hire loads of people and actually this doesn’t work, using the power of delegation is a great way to grow your business and building systems and processes are crucial to bringing in the right people to take care of the operations so they can work on growing the business.

This creates the tangible value for your business to grow and you can sell it.

How would you scale a boot strap million dollar company from a start-up if you had to start again with nothing ?

Figure out what your core product or service is and know what your competitor is offering is also important and showing why you are different.

Work out who your potential customers are and get feedback from your first customers.

Building out the team and the systems and processes, standardizing this means it is not a problem if someone can be hired.

Do you have any useful tips on scaling?

When you are ready to move into areas where you or your cofounders are not experts make sure you can hire someone who is an expert in this area and they can push it forward.

For example Facebook ads and hiring someone to do this is really important.

If it would take you far too much time and energy to learn some new skills then perhaps it is best to hire someone else to do it.

This has made a huge difference to their business and bringing in new customers.

Picking the experts is crucial rather than experts in outsourcing…

Hiring someone for a few hours a week is best to scale, don’t waste money on the bells and whistles.

Do you have any affiliate tips for building new partners?

Attitude when reaching out to people is important, they may be an influencer to some extent and something he found very useful is do your research and understanding who they are is important, look into what they are doing today and outreaching to them being honest is important.

Make sure you send a personalised message when emailing them is extremely important especially when bringing people to be affiliates.

Do you think personal branding is important?

Of course it is very important, Connor has been working on his brand for over a year and a half and has been focusing on building it.

When someone reaches out to you what do you do? Google them!

You want there to be pages of results so people can see who you are and it is a huge aspect when growing your business.

A fun conversation and making sure people delegate their tasks and help drive businesses forward is key.

Connor started an e-commerce business when he was at college and he built if up to employ 60 people. is his second business and connects business owners with reliable freelancers and he is always looking for new opportunities to connect with people and you can find him at Connor

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I am interviewing the CEO of Freeup in the next few weeks!

Original post on my personal website